Inkjet Technology Really Does Have a Place in the Business World
By now, it should come as no shock that the statistics for printing in color are compelling. According to a recent Xerox study, business documents reproduced in color are resulting in better reception and traction among consumers. The study indicates that color printing:
• Increases reader attention span and recall by more than 80%.
• Makes impressions nearly 40% more memorable.
• Increases direct-mail readership by 55%.
• Improves brand recognition by up to 80%.
Xerox cited numerous other reasons to print in color, notably including an increase in comprehension, an easier time finding relevant information, and an increase in calls when phone numbers appear in color.
Furthermore, in its 2019 State of the Industry Report, Printing Industries of America reported an increasing number of full-color pages have migrated to production inkjet, which is the second-fastest growing printing process. For the record, digital toner still ranked No. 1.
Let’s look at RISO, Inc., which has been in the inkjet business for more than 15 years. The company rolled out its “business inkjet” cut-sheet production printer to the office workplace in early 2018—the ComColor FW5000. As a cost-effective alternative to toner devices, the FW5000 offers full-color printing for 2.5 cents per copy (A4 letter-sized) for high-volume office applications such as manuals, calendars, invoices, and reports, as well as spreadsheets and forms. (The per-page price includes ink and the service agreement.) And it’s speedy, outputting color at 90 ppm.
ComColor inkjet printers employ RISO’s patented FORCEJET technology, which is a heatless imaging system that requires no fusing during the printing process. A straight paper path enables peak printing without electrostatic buildup, according to the manufacturer.
“People always ask, why ink over toner?” said Chris Garrison, president of Long Island-based dealer Apex Consulting Services, Inc. “Ink runs cool and toner runs hot. Everyone in the business knows that heat causes mechanical problems and paper jams.”
Prospects, Verticals, and Challenges
One inkjet printer sales success story comes courtesy of Apex Consulting. With more than 25 years in the copier industry, Apex sells and services machines from Copystar, MBM, RISO, and Sharp. Apex covers five boroughs of New York City, two counties in Long Island, and the mid-Hudson area, and has a strong relationship with RISO, in particular.
Chris Garrison, president, Apex Consulting Services
Apex President Garrison’s history with the Japanese manufacturer dates back 32 years. In 1987, he worked for one of the first companies in the United States to become an authorized dealer for RISO.
“I grew up on the RISO product and saw every generation the company has ever made,” said Garrison, who described RISO as an ink-printing pioneer. “Their most consistent characteristic over the years is reliability. Customers have come to know this and trust their ink technology. Productivity, reliability, and cost-efficiency are the qualities customers have become familiar with and expect from RISO products.”
Apex tends to pitch the FW5000 inkjet solution to larger prospects that are looking for high productivity and production efficiencies. Government municipalities, higher-education institutions (colleges and universities), hospitals/medical centers, and non-profit organizations all fair opportunities, according to Garrison. One of Apex’s clients is a regional supermarket chain with 34 stores from Yonkers to Albany.
In-plant reprographic centers doing volumes in excess of 100,000 pages per month also are prime targets.
“With a monthly duty cycle of 500,000—Buyers Lab rates it at 750,000—RISO’s new inkjet product can go into all these vertical markets,” commented Garrison.
Yet, as with any products in the imaging industry, there are some challenges in aligning the right products with the right customers.
“Inkjet is just too much weapon [for some customers],” Garrison said. There has to be a fit, he notes, citing the example of Kyocera’s massive, 20-foot-long inkjet device, on that Garrison says is dauntingly expensive. “It’s for more industrial print applications.”
Closer to most dealers’ comfort levels, he pointed out that not everyone requires a 130-ppm color inkjet.
“Most people can live with 25- to 55-ppm toner-based, color copiers,” said Garrison. “Inkjet [production] will have an impact on the bottom line versus toner, but you still have the equipment cost, which is way out of whack.”
Such inkjet devices can start at $13,000, plus another $3,000 for a document feeder. From a dealer sales rep’s point of view, Garrison acknowledged inkjet can be an expensive product. However, if prices come down and are more competitive, he believes Apex could replace up to 75% of its customers’ toner color output with inkjet.
Sidebar: A Risograph History Lesson
Risograph, circa mid-1970s, is a brand of digital duplicators manufactured by the Riso Kagaku Corporation (RISO) that are designed mainly for high-volume photocopying and printing. RISO was founded in 1946 as a mimeograph printing company in Setagaya, Tokyo. The company later developed Japan’s first emulsion ink and started manufacturing printing materials.
The original Risograph duplicators fit perfectly in traditional markets such as churches, schools, printers, and the occasional non-profit, largely due to the ink and masters being used.
“The concept was the more images you put on a single master, the more economical that supply becomes, therefore, giving it good cost per copy,” recalled Chris Garrison, president of Apex Consulting.
“Environments where a single original making multiple copies—in other words, high run lengths—are routine jobs that RISO does very well. No copier in the industry can compete. You wouldn’t use a RISO to make a single copy because the master material becomes very expensive.”
RISO’s new ComColor inkjet technology does not use masters. Eliminating masters from this machine allows RISO to go into any marketplace and be cost-effective against other copier companies, which for Garrison, and many other dealers, is an obvious plus.
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